By Mandy Garcia
Offerings taken during worship services are often assumed to be only money, but during the July 2 worship service of Annual Conference, attendees offered much more than that.
As a way of tangibly “extending Jesus’ table,” moderator Robert Alley suggested a special opportunity for Brethren to offer gifts other than their dollars to people around the world. So a special offering of comforters and school supply kits was taken during worship, and many people participated.
After the traditional offering bags passed each row, a quiet parade of worshipers made their way forward. As the bell choir beautifully chimed the tune of “It Is Well with My Soul,” grandmothers offered comforters, children offered crayons and notebooks in canvas bags, some families offered boxes of kits, and all types of Brethren offered what they were led to give.
Photos of Church of the Brethren ministries in action skimmed across the mega screens as people lined up to give. The pile quickly grew to a mountain, and just as tangible as the gifts was the joy that filled the room.
These unique offerings will be collected at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., and distributed by Church World Service to families who need them, extending Jesus’ table around the world.
Coverage of the 2011 Annual Conference is being carried out by the News Team of Jan Fischer-Bachman, Mandy Garcia, Karen Garrett, Amy Heckert, Regina Holmes, Frank Ramirez, Glenn Riegel, Frances Townsend, and editor and news director Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford. Wendy McFadden serves as executive director of Brethren Press. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org